Poisoning claims: France opens Arafat probe

The move was hailed by the Palestinian Authority.

Afp August 29, 2012


French prosecutors have opened a murder inquiry into Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat’s 2004 death near Paris following claims he may have died of polonium poisoning, sources told AFP on Tuesday.

The probe comes after Arafat’s family launched legal action in France last month following reports the veteran Palestinian leader may have died from radioactive polonium.

The move was hailed by the Palestinian Authority.

“We welcome this decision and (Palestinian) President Mahmud Abbas has officially asked French President Francois Hollande to help us to investigate the circumstances of the martyrdom of late president Arafat,” senior Palestinian official Saeb Erakat told AFP.

Allegations that Arafat was poisoned were resurrected last month after Al Jazeera news channel broadcast an investigation in which experts said they found high levels of polonium on his personal effects. At the time of his death, Palestinian officials alleged he had been poisoned by Israel, but an inconclusive Palestinian investigation in 2005 ruled out poisoning, as well as cancer and Aids.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 29th, 2012.


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